Securing the UK Border



Securing the UK Border
Securing the UK Border
Our vision and strategy
for the future
Home Office March 2007
Foreword by the Minister for Nationality, Citizenship and Immigration and the
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Chapter 1: The UK’s new borders
Wider checks abroad
A new offshore border control
A stronger UK border
The Border Operating Model: stages of the control
Chapter 2: Threats and challenges
Key challenges to the border
Chapter 3: Wider, tougher checks abroad
A new visa regime: the Visa Waiver Test
An accessible visa service for legitimate travellers
Welcoming visitors
Rationalising the visitor category
Targeting areas of abuse
Streamlining and expediting appeals processes
Global alliances to manage migration
Chapter 4: Our new offshore border control
Electronic borders
Juxtaposed controls
Airline Liaison Officers
Chapter 5: A stronger UK border
Biometric capture
Powers and joint working at the border
Common Travel Area and movements of small craft
New skills, new processes
Exit controls – counting people out
Chapter 6: Making it happen
Future funding
Annex: Summary milestones
Foreword by the Minister for Nationality, Citizenship and
Immigration and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State,
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Liam Byrne MP
Lord Triesman
The exponential growth in global movement brings great opportunity for the UK but creates new challenges
which demand a new doctrine for the national border.
Border control can no longer just be a fixed line on a map. Using new technology, particularly biometrics, and
new approaches to managing risk and intelligence, we must create a new offshore line of defence, checking
individuals as far from the UK as possible and through each stage of their journey. Our aim is to make
legitimate travel easier, yet prevent those who might cause us harm from travelling here. We want the UK to
be attractive and welcoming to business, tourist, student and family visitors, skilled migrants and returning
nationals and residents, but halt those with no right to come to this country well away from our shores.
This approach cannot be taken forward by a single government department acting alone. It requires co-ordinated
support of government, international partners and industry to succeed. We will consult those who can assist in the
initiatives outlined in this paper as we proceed and develop new mechanisms for co-operation.
This strategy is a part of the radical reform of the UK immigration system begun last July. It provides a vision
for the future for our border and visa operations and sets out practical steps as to how we will get there. It is part
of our wider migration message, whether in-country or abroad, of supporting those with entitlements and
penalising those without.
A strong border is good for travellers, good for industry, national security and the economy.
A strong border is what the public demand and is what we will deliver.
Liam Byrne MP
Minister for Nationality,
Citizenship and Immigration
Lord Triesman
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
…more people, more quickly, more securely…
Chapter 1:
The UK’s new borders
1.1 The border has traditionally been understood as
a single, staffed physical frontier, where travellers
show paper-based identity documents to pass
through. This twentieth century concept can be
subject to abuse, with controls often geared to
fairly crude risk indicators such as nationality.
1.2 This philosophy will not deal effectively with
the step change in mobility that globalisation
has brought to our country. We believe a new
doctrine is demanded, where controls begin offshore and where we use information, intelligence
and identity systems to allow scrutiny at key
checkpoints on the journey to and from the UK.
1.3 Managing identity is fundamental to delivering
this new approach. Using biometric technology
we can permanently link people to a unique
identity. We can check this against other records
that can reveal, for example, if someone poses a
security risk, has previously committed crimes in
the UK, or has tried to enter the country under
false pretences. It provides us with confidence
in who we count in and out.
1.4 We want, therefore, to fix people’s identities at
the earliest point practicable, checking them
through each stage of their journey, identifying
those presenting risk and stopping them
coming to the UK. By the time a passenger has
been identified at the border as posing a threat,
it can be too late – they have achieved their goal
in reaching our shores. Off-shoring our border
control is the keystone of our border defence.
1.5 This new approach will change the way we
grant permission to come to the UK, increase
checks on those in transit and strengthen the
UK border itself. We are putting in place a
border security system which makes life easier
for legitimate travellers but stops those who
would cause harm. This model will not be
achieved by the Border and Immigration
Agency alone. We will work closely with
other border agencies, wider government,
international partners, industry and the public
to deliver our objectives.
Main ports of entry to the UK by passenger numbers (percentage of passengers – 2005)
Wider checks abroad
1.6 We will change the way we decide who to check
in depth before they visit the UK.
All non-EEA countries will be subject to a
Visa Waiver Test. This will be an
assessment against a series of benchmarks, by
which we will consider whether a visa regime
should be maintained, lifted or imposed. The
test will be run over the remainder of 2007
with any consequent changes taking place
in 2008/09;
Consult on new measures to combat forced
marriage, including a Code of Practice
for interviews with couples, raising the
minimum age of the spouse and sponsor
to 21, and examine the case for the
introduction of an English language test
before entry for spouses who intend to settle
in the UK;
Overhaul the rules for visitors coming to
visit the UK for less than six months. We
will consult on options in 2007, making
changes in 2008. This will be in parallel to
our reform of routes for workers and students
through the Points Based System; and
Introduce biometric visas worldwide by 2008.
The biometrics of increasing numbers of
other lower-risk non-EEA nationals coming to
the UK for more than six months will be
captured through biometric immigration
documents, issued from 2008, and through
registered traveller schemes.
A stronger UK border
1.8 We will:
A new offshore border control
1.7 Working closely with our international
partners, we will introduce offshore border
controls covering all modes of transport
worldwide. Specifically, we will:
Introduce an Authority to Carry scheme
that will allow us to refuse a carrier the
authority to bring passengers to the UK,
based on real-time checks against
government databases. This will be
introduced from 2009;
Strengthen our network of overseas border
security advisers to help airlines deal with
people who may not have the necessary
documents for travel and to stop those who
do not from boarding; and
Enhance our juxtaposed controls in France
and Belgium.
Strengthen the powers for immigration
officers and more widely for the Border
and Immigration Agency through the UK
Borders Bill, introduced in January 2007.
We will make the physical UK border and
staff more visible, and improve skills and
equipment for staff. As co-operation deepens
across the border security network through
the Border Management Programme (the
Border and Immigration Agency, HMRC,
police, SOCA and UKvisas) over 2007 and
2008, we will ensure that powers are in place
to facilitate further collaboration between the
border agencies;
Complete our commitment to a unique,
secure ID for all non-EEA nationals by
2011, by collecting the biometrics of all
remaining non-EEA nationals not previously
biometrically registered in the UK on arrival;
Strengthen the Common Travel Area,
covering the UK and Ireland, and improve
the control of small ship and aircraft
movements. This will not affect the intraIrish land border; and
The majority of passengers will be checked
in and out of the UK by 2009 and 95 per
cent by 2011.
IND Review: “extend exit controls in stages
based on risk, identify who overstays, and
count everyone in and out, while avoiding
Chapter 1:
The UK’s new borders
The Border Operating Model: stages
of the control
Current model
Future model
Chapter 2:
Threats and challenges
Key challenges to the border
2.1 After a decade of uninterrupted growth,
Britain is the world’s fifth largest economy
and one of the world’s great trading nations.
A greater share of our GDP is traded than any
other nation in the OECD. This strategy for
Securing the UK Border sets out what we
intend to do over the next decade to respond to
the principal strategic threats and challenges to
our borders, against the background of great
growth in Britain’s global trade and traffic.
International air traffic is increasing:
passenger numbers entering and leaving
the UK through our airports could reach
320 million by 2015, almost double their
level of five years ago;
Freight traffic is growing at 2.9 per cent
a year (and around 6 per cent through
the major Kent ports). Eurostar destinations
are also likely to increase, raising passenger
traffic; and
Over 2,500,000 visa applications were
received in 2005/06 and over 2,000,000 visas
issued. Demand has grown by 45 per cent
since 2001/02. Provisional figures for the
first ten months of 2006/07 show almost
9 per cent growth over the same period in
the previous financial year.
IND Strategic Objective 4: We will boost
Britain’s economy by bringing the right skills
here from around the world, and ensuring Britain
is easy to visit legally.
2.3 The British economy continues to benefit from
globalisation. It is important for the UK to
offer a positive welcome to tourists, students,
business travellers and legal migrants.
IND Strategic Objective 1: Strengthen our
borders, use tougher checks abroad so that only
those with permission travel to the UK, and
ensure we know who leaves so that we can take
action against those who break the rules.
2.2 The UK’s border system must, therefore, meet
three challenges:
Process rapidly increasing numbers of
Keep out or monitor the travel of those
individuals who could cause harm to the
UK; and
Facilitate legitimate travel in the interests
of Britain’s people and economy.
Continued growth has come from
international trade and investment, and from
the ability of British business to fill gaps in
the labour market that cannot be filled from
our own workforce. Engineers, teachers and
other experts from abroad fill these gaps,
making important contributions to the UK
through tax and revenue, as well as developing
our links with foreign countries;
Britain remains the destination of choice
for many visitors from overseas. In 2005,
11.8 million non-EEA travellers entered
the UK – 3.9 million from the USA, the
majority as tourists or short business visits.
People from overseas spent £14.2 billion in
the UK in 2005, with the tourism industry
alone directly employing 1.4 million people;
Overseas students in UK further and higher
education, English language and independent
schools contribute an estimated £5 billion
annually to the UK economy. Students as
individuals also contribute substantially
towards the economy. The UK is second
only to the USA as a global leader in the
international provision of education; and
The travel industry itself is an important
part of the British economy. Carriers, in a
highly competitive market, need to be able
to meet the public’s demands for secure and
rapid travel with minimum necessary
2.4 A minority, however, travel to work illegally in
the UK, engage in criminal activity or even
terrorism. Due to its very nature it is difficult
to fully estimate the precise scale of abuse.
Chapter 2:
Threats and challenges
As the number of legitimate travellers to the
UK increases, so it is likely that the numbers
of those who try to enter the UK illegally
will also grow, driven by pull (opportunity,
media images, communal and family ties)
and push factors (poverty, environmental
degradation, political instability, and
While some individuals break UK
immigration law through, for example,
submitting fraudulent applications for
visas or by seeking to enter the UK
clandestinely, illegal entry is increasingly
connected in some way to organised crime
such as human trafficking and people
smuggling. The number of transnational
criminal gangs providing transport and false
documents and operating to circumvent
immigration control has grown. Up to
75 per cent of illegal entry is facilitated by
organised crime;
British and foreign criminals exploit the
jurisdictional and bureaucratic boundaries
created by international borders; and
Terrorism poses a severe threat. Planning,
training and facilitation of a terrorist plot
could be carried out by any national and
from any number of countries abroad before
implementation is attempted in the UK.
2.5 Specifically, there are four principal methods
of entering the UK illegally which we must
combat: fraudulent use of a travel document or
visa; travelling on a legitimate or illegitimate
document or visa to the UK, but destroying
these means of identity before arrival;
clandestine entry; and entry through the
Common Travel Area covering the UK, Ireland
and the Crown Dependencies.
but, due to security features and processes,
they are difficult to forge or counterfeit
successfully. EEA documents, including ID
cards, which allow freedom of movement
throughout Europe, are also valuable, as are
other documents of nationals not subject to
UK visa control;
Undocumented passengers arrive at
UK immigration control having destroyed or
disposed of their travel documents, or handed
them back to an agent. These people generally
also use forged/counterfeit documents at
boarding: knowing that false identity will
impede asylum, re-documentation and return
processes. During 2006 we caught over 2,000
undocumented passengers trying to enter
the UK;
Clandestine entrants circumvent
immigration controls through concealment
in cars, lorries, containers or ships. We have
already had major success in reducing illegal
entry to the UK through the introduction
of juxtaposed immigration controls in
France and Belgium, including through the
use of New Detection Technology. The risks
posed by small ports and airfields are
monitored by the border agencies and
targeted on an intelligence-led basis; and
The Common Travel Area (CTA) consists
of the UK, Republic of Ireland and the
Crown Dependencies and allows for the
movement of all CTA nationals without
being subject to immigration control.
However, there are also risks of illegal entry.
To counter these, we work closely with other
CTA authorities and run intelligence-led
enforcement and security controls on inbound
traffic from other parts of the CTA.
Certain travel documents or visas are
attractive to criminals and abusers, either
because they carry prestige and entitlements,
or because they and their issuing processes
are weak. During 2006, over 4,000
forged/counterfeit documents were detected
at our ports. UK passports are highly prized,
Chapter 3:
Wider, tougher checks abroad
Visa and non-visa nationals worldwide
A new visa regime: the Visa Waiver Test
3.1 We will change the way we check people before
they come to the UK. Traveller information is
first collected through the visa system. Since
2002 we have embedded risk assessment
throughout our visa network to identify abuse
of the visa system and enhance decision making.
By mid-2008 Risk Assessment Units will cover
over 75 per cent of all visa applications,
co-ordinated through the UKvisas Risk
Assessment Operations Centre. This facilitates
worldwide, real-time exchange of intelligence
between border agencies and individual posts to
support the development of analytical and
profiling tools and watchlists. Entry Clearance
Officers (ECOs) use these tools to scrutinise
applicants according to the type and level of
risk posed.
Visa nationals
Non-visa nationals
Since October 2004 the Risk Assessment Unit
in Accra has been working closely with local police
to arrest and prosecute those submitting forged
documents in support of their visa applications.
Around 2500 individuals have been arrested and
their applications refused. This has had a significant
deterrent effect, reducing the number of applications
containing forged documents by 75 per cent. We
will expand this initiative to other key posts by
3.2 Fixing individuals to their identities and
checking against biometric databases is vital.
Through the visa system, we already capture
fingerprint and facial biometrics for individuals
from over 60 countries before they travel to the
UK. We will enrol the biometrics of all visa
applicants by 2008. This gives ECOs significant
additional information on which to base
decisions. Already over 280,000 applicants
have provided biometrics: over 2,700 of these
Chapter 3:
Wider, tougher checks abroad
have matched fingerprints taken in the UK in
connection with previous immigration matters
or asylum applications.
3.3 Nationals of over one hundred countries –
three-quarters of the world’s population – must
apply for permission (or visa) to come to the UK.
Nationals of over sixty countries outside the EEA
only need clearance if they intend to be in the
UK for longer than six months or are coming
here on a basis that requires a visa – for example,
for work or study. Visa regimes have traditionally
been imposed on a largely reactive basis as a
result of detection of immigration abuse by
people bearing a particular passport. We will
change this approach by introducing a Visa
Waiver Test.
3.4 The test will consist of a set of criteria
determining the overall level of harm posed
by travellers from a particular country. The
presumption will be that all non-EEA countries
failing the test will, unless risks can be mitigated
satisfactorily, be subject to a visa regime, while
those meeting the specified benchmark will not.
Criteria for this test will include:
Issuing a secure passport, maintaining secure
passport application, production, storage and
delivery processes and reporting lost or stolen
travel documents to international standards;
Co-operation in re-documentation and return
of nationals being deported or removed from
the UK for immigration and other offences;
A sufficiently low incidence of identified
immigration abuse, including denial of visas
or entry to the UK owing to presentation
of false documents, overstaying, illegal
working and clandestine entry;
A sufficiently low risk posed by the country’s
nationals in terms of terrorism and
The steps taken by the country to combat
terrorism, crime and immigration abuse
internally; and
The economic impact of the imposition
of a visa regime.
3.5 The test will enable us to target our visa
regimes more effectively in order to minimise
harm to the UK while allowing nationals of
those countries that do not present significant
risk to travel to the UK with less scrutiny.
We will apply the test to all non-EEA countries
by the end of 2007. Following the test, some
additional regimes may be imposed while others
may be lifted in a phased process over 2008/09.
Some countries failing the test may be able to
take steps to mitigate the risks presented by
some of their citizens. We would seek to assist
them in doing so. For example, some risks
presented by criminality could be mitigated
by the government in question agreeing to
share data on criminality.
3.6 In tandem, using similar criteria, we will also
review the Transit Without Visa (TWOV)
concession and Direct Airside Transit Visa
(DATV) by the end of 2007. The former lifts
the visa requirement if transiting through UK
airports for a short period rather than visiting
the UK itself. The latter requires nationals of
a particular country to have a visa to transit
through UK airports even if they do not
intend to enter the UK. As part of this review,
we will reduce the DATV fee to Schengen
3.7 In the short to medium term, existing
categories of visa and non-visa national will
continue to exist. Our ultimate vision is to use
intelligence, risk assessment and analysis to
apply scrutiny based on individual risk rather
than nationality. For example, low-risk
travellers from current visa countries might in
the future be able to enter the UK without a
visa once they have registered their biometrics.
High-risk travellers will continue to be subject
to a level of scrutiny dependent on the risk they
pose, before being granted a visa or refused
permission to enter the UK.
An accessible visa service
for legitimate travellers
3.8 We will provide greater accessibility to our
customers and increase efficiency as we outsource
more visa application services. By the end of
2007, we will be working with commercial
partners in 73 different countries, accounting for
87 per cent of current applications. This will
mean, for example, that in the cases of India or
China it will be possible for visa applicants to
register biometrics at 12 different locations by
the end of 2007.
3.9 We will continue to improve decision quality
and will make processes clearer for staff and
applicants. We issued new decision quality
guidance to staff in January 2007. In response
to recommendations from the Independent
Monitor for Entry Clearance, we have improved
the structure and format of refusal notices.
We will extend structured decision-making
processes and issue new simplified application
forms by the end of 2007.
Welcoming visitors
3.10 Although visitors come to the UK for a range
of reasons, the vast majority are covered by
one general set of immigration rules granting
admission for six months for whatever purpose.
This does not reflect the varied needs of the
modern visitor. We will therefore change the
rules governing visitors and explore a range of
options by which we can tailor the rights and
responsibilities of different visitors, while
strengthening our overall control. We will
engage with those with an interest, within and
outside government, to ensure the new
arrangements will be:
Coherent, transparent and sensitive to
customers’ needs;
Effective in combating potential abuse; and
Supported by appropriate compliance and
enforcement measures.
IND Review: “strengthen and streamline
the law and Immigration Rules, to speed
up and simplify the immigration system,
including deportation.”
3.11 This will support our objectives of boosting
Britain’s economy and making this country
easier to visit legally, and of strengthening
and simplifying our immigration laws while
upholding the security and integrity of our
borders. We will consult over 2007, introducing
new arrangements in 2008.
Rationalising the visitor category
3.12 The main reasons people visit the UK are for
tourism, business, to study, or to visit family.
The current immigration rules – which have
developed piecemeal over time – do not
distinguish between these very different
purposes. Additionally, whereas a visit to
Britain ought, by definition, to be relatively
short, this has been eroded by those seeking
to abuse the route by overstaying or working
here illegally.
3.13 We have begun to implement our programme
for reform of longer-term migration through
the Points Based System, which we will be
introducing between now and April 2009, with
the first part of the system, Tier 1 for highly
skilled migrants, to be introduced by April
2008. The new system, advised by the
Migration Advisory Committee, will help us
better identify and attract migrants who have
most to contribute to the UK, and will reduce
the scope for abuse. The entry criteria will be
more objective, so there will be more certainty
of outcome for all. The current two-stage
process, in which an employer applies for a
work permit in the UK and the migrant then
applies for entry clearance abroad, will be
abolished. Underpinning the new system will
be the concept of sponsorship, making it easier
for trusted employers to bring in migrant
workers, to whom they have issued a Certificate
of Sponsorship. We are working closely with
Chapter 3:
Wider, tougher checks abroad
employers, especially through the Employer
Taskforce (established to consult employers on
the design of the new system), to ensure that
the requirements we make of sponsors meet the
needs of business as far as possible.
3.14 We now need to rethink the visitor route from
first principles. Our aim is a simpler, clearer and
more relevant system for visitors. We propose
to divide the visitor rules into categories related
directly to the purpose of visit, and clarify an
individual’s status and entitlements. This would
mean having categories for tourist, business,
student and sponsored family visitors. We will
develop a full package of proposals during 2007,
consulting as appropriate, with a view to full
introduction of changes by the end of 2008.
3.15 Tourists bring substantial economic benefit
to the country. We want to ensure that the UK
is easy to visit legally. We will pursue a range
of measures to enhance the UK’s attractiveness
as a tourist destination, foster a greater sense
of welcome and generate positive perceptions
of the value for money of a tourist visa, whilst
ensuring that adequate controls are in place.
These will include:
Looking at the number of entries and length
of stay allowed with a tourist visa to reflect
better the needs of tourists, the vast majority
of whom only require leave to enter for periods
of less than three months, and whether it
should be reduced to this length;
Exploring specialised or time-limited visas
in co-operation with DCMS and VisitBritain.
These could include a “Schengen-plus visa”
for people already committed to group travel
in the EU; a discounted, time-limited
“Olympics” visa to help support the
promotion of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad
and the Games; and different visa products for
major events and for visiting arts companies
and teams. We will also explore cost options
for visas which allow shorter stays and are of
limited validity, and longer-term validity
visas for more frequent, trusted travellers; and
By June 2007, establishing a Visitor
Taskforce so that we can work with partners
across and beyond government to seek
improvements to our customer service
standards and the part we play in welcoming
visitors to Britain. The taskforce will involve
VisitBritain, UKTI, and members of the
travel, tourism and hospitality sectors.
In line with IND’s strategic objective to boost
Britain’s economy, we will work with VisitBritain
and the Welcome to Britain Group to promote the
UK tourist industry through its forthcoming
Welcome Visitor Charter, which pledges to make
the UK a more welcoming place to visit in the
run-up to 2012.
3.16 The UK is a hub of international business. In
consultation with the Department for Trade and
Industry, we will improve the way legitimate
Business visitors are able to come to the UK.
Business visitors are fundamentally different
from other visitors as they are allowed to
undertake short-term business activities in the
UK. We will reflect this by creating a separate
Business Visitor category, which will also set
out the activities that they are entitled to
undertake. We will look at a range of options
to make travel more flexible, from quick and
simple short-term business visit visas to longerterm, multiple entry visas, and whether we can
link some of these with expedited clearance
at the border through our Registered Traveller
Schemes. For example, we will widen the scope
of expedited schemes for visa nationals such
as Business Express.
3.17 Student Visitors bring significant benefits
to the UK. At present, visitors to the UK can
also study here, and may enter either as a visitor
or as a student. There are no rules governing
this distinction – it depends almost entirely
on what information the student gives an
immigration officer on entering the country
– which can lead to confusion around their
status, entitlements and obligations. We want
to clarify the arrangements for short-term
students studying here for six months or less.
3.18 From September 2007, short-term students from
countries not subject to a visa regime (coming for
six months or less) who do not wish to work will
still be able to come to the UK without a visa.
However, all will be required to demonstrate
that they are attending a registered educational
institution, that they can maintain and
accommodate themselves during their stay, and
they intend to leave at the end of that period.
3.19 Many people come to visit friends and relations
in the UK for short periods, for holiday or
other reasons, and will continue to be able to do
so under the proposed Tourist Visitor category.
We also recognise that there are circumstances in
which a family member from abroad may wish
to come to the UK for a longer period, or need
the support of the relation they are visiting in
order to be able to do so. We will consult on
the creation of a new Sponsored Family Visitor
category for use in these circumstances.
3.20 The Sponsored Family Visitor route would allow
family members in the UK to give stronger
support to such applications. This will simplify
the process for those applying to come to visit
family in the UK as we will be able to verify
relationships easily and the willingness of the
UK family member to support the application.
We will explore options for requiring sponsors
to undertake to maintain and accommodate, and
fund any non-emergency medical care their
sponsored visitors may require during their stay
in the UK. We will also examine the status of
the sponsor in order to be sure that sponsors can
meet their obligations. We could require them
to hold settled status in the UK (be it holding
British citizenship, EEA nationality, the right
of abode in the UK or Indefinite Leave to
Remain). We would also examine sanctions
against those sponsors who fail to meet their
3.21 We intend to consult on the options for tourist,
business and sponsored family visitors. The
following table seeks to summarise how
the proposed visitor categories might look
in the future.
Sponsored Family
3 months
6 months
6 months
6 months
No work
No benefits
No work
No benefits
Study at registered
Sponsor to be a defined
close relation and be
settled in the UK
There may be an entry
clearance requirement
But with potential for short stay visas and longer
multiple entry ones
No work
No benefits
Defined business
No benefits
No extension beyond the maximum length of stay
On limited grounds
Non Visa
Non Visa
On limited grounds
Non Visa
On limited grounds
Right of Appeal on full
Chapter 3:
Wider, tougher checks abroad
Targeting areas of abuse
3.22 We will also develop a range of potential
measures to reduce the scope for abuse of our
processes. These will include:
Marriage to partners from overseas –
protection for the vulnerable and the
skills to integrate
3.23 A forced marriage is one which takes place
against the wishes of one of the parties. This is
different from an arranged marriage whereby
both parties consent to the marriage taking
In 2005, our High Commission in Islamabad
established the Consular Immigration Link
(CIL) Team to meet the rising numbers of forced
marriage victims being coerced into sponsoring
visa applications, and spouses being abandoned
in Pakistan. The CIL Team works closely with
the joint FCO and Home Office Forced Marriage
Unit (FMU) to protect vulnerable clients. In 2006
the CIL Team and FMU have assisted over 200
forced marriage victims who have been coerced
into sponsoring their husband or wife’s entry
to the UK.
3.24 There are sometimes situations in which a
young person is forced by family pressure into
an unwanted union. One party will normally be
overseas and need a visa to be able to come to
the UK. This will either be a visa to enter the
UK as a fiancé(e) and marry here, or the British
citizen will have been taken overseas to marry
and then apply for a visa for their spouse.
We will consult on the following:
A Code of Practice, building on work
carried out by ECOs in Islamabad, in relation
to in-depth interviews with couples applying
for marriage visas, including scope for views
to be given in confidence. At appeal, it
would be incumbent on the Immigration
Judge both to follow the guidelines in the
Code and to ensure that any interview
evidence had been properly obtained and
appropriately disclosed;
Raising the minimum age of a spouse and
their sponsor from 18 to 21. This would
allow the young people involved to have
completed their education as well as allowing
them to have gained in maturity and possess
adequate life skills; and
In light of the recent changes to settlement
in the UK, we will examine the case for
introducing a new requirement for those
applying for a spouse visa and planning to
settle in the UK to pass some form of
English test before arrival. This will include
consideration of what level of preparation
is appropriate.
Sanctions against people who provide false
documents and information
3.25 False documents submitted in support of
applications are a huge problem when
determining if someone should come to the
UK; in some countries fraudulent documents
are endemic. Currently we co-operate with local
law enforcement agencies where false documents
are submitted to bring criminal proceedings
under their domestic legislation where this is
possible. But it remains open to fraudsters to
submit further visa applications, and further
false documents. We will examine options for
ending this abuse, including automatically
refusing applications from people who have
previously used fraudulent documents in
applications unless satisfied that this was
without their knowledge.
3.26 When considering the imposition of new
obligations on family visitor sponsors, we
will also consult on taking powers to place
responsibility on sponsors for the overstay or
breach of conditions by family visitors. Sponsors
who fail to meet their obligations of support
could also be sanctioned. If a person is found
to have acted in breach of the family sponsor
requirements, then future applicants may not
be able to cite that individual as a sponsor.
Streamlining and expediting appeals
3.27 It is important that all documents provided in
support of visa applications are produced at an
appropriate stage in the application process
rather than later during the appeals process.
Appeals should be focused on whether or not
the ECO made the correct decision on the basis
of the information available at the time, and
not based on later evidence which has not been
considered by the ECO. Additionally, with
fraudulent documents becoming increasingly
sophisticated, it is important that all documents
are seen by an appropriately skilled person to
establish their authenticity before any appeal
can be brought. We are already acting to
prevent this under the Points Based System and
will now examine how to address this problem
for those refused entry clearance in the new
Sponsored Family Visitor route. We will
consult on the fairest way to achieve this.
Global alliances to manage migration
3.28 We will also enhance our watchlists through
sharing more data internationally and deeper
liaison with UK and overseas law enforcement
and security agencies. Our ultimate goal is a
model where high value criminal and migration
data is easily and securely shared by all EEA
countries and those with a visa waiver, subject
to domestic data protection and other legal
requirements. Intelligence and risk analysis
will underpin all border and visa operations.
Towards this goal, we will:
Promote more data sharing within
the EU. We have already benefited from
the introduction of Eurodac, which stores
fingerprints of all asylum seekers across the
European Union. We are negotiating access
to the EU Visa Application System, and we
will have access to policing data and Interpol
records of lost and stolen passports on the
Schengen Information System (SISII) from
2010; and
Deepen collaboration with other
international partners, such as the Four
Countries Group (the migration authorities
of the UK, USA, Australia and Canada).
Over recent months the UK, USA and
Australia have tested the exchange of a
variety of immigration data. This April we
aim to agree with our partners a new datasharing framework for operation from 2009.
IND Review: “working jointly with European
and international partners to tackle the
challenges of global migration, including
measures to address cross-border
3.29 Collaboration with EU and international
partners to strengthen common border security
extends beyond increased data sharing. We
support border and visa capacity building in
a number of countries, including through the
sharing of best practice, and the provision
of trainers and equipment. Central to this
approach in the EU is the work of Frontex,
the European Border Agency. We are
enthusiastic supporters of Frontex. We have
contributed to Frontex operations and made
available New Detection Technology to Member
States for selected operations at outer EU
borders. The strength of the EU external border
is an important component in our own border
security. We will say more in this area in the
forthcoming International Strategy.
Chapter 3:
Wider, tougher checks abroad
Equally important is our work with the police
and other agencies and with the Serious Organised
Crime Agency (SOCA), and its international
counterparts, to combat organised immigration
crime. Organised immigration crime is one of
SOCA’s top two priorities. SOCA, both in the
UK and through collaboration overseas, attacks
the gangs and gangleaders who facilitate illegal
entry to this country. There have been a number
of recent successful prosecutions of immigration
gangs. Tackling the gangs is crucial to reducing
illegal immigration.
Increase action with law enforcement
agencies, the Airline Liaison Officer (ALO)
network and our international partners
against counterfeiters and fraudsters;
Have real-time access to the Interpol Lost
and Stolen passport database from 2010;
Encourage our EU partners to meet the 2009
deadline for fingerprint-enabled documents
as soon as possible and to meet the 2005
inter-governmental agreement on common
minimum standards for Member States’
ID cards;
Support interoperability between EU
Member State passport databases; and
Work with our international partners to
improve issuing and verification processes.
3.30 We will also continue to improve document
security both at home and abroad. The security
of UK and EU passports, with the introduction
last year of biometric passports with an image
of the holder stored in the chip, continues
to improve. The inclusion of fingerprints is
due to be rolled out across the EU from 2009.
The National Document Fraud Unit (NDFU)
and the Identity and Passport Service (IPS)
are world-acknowledged centres of document
expertise and brief Border Control and UKvisas
on countering new document fraud trends and
methods. We have refused, and will continue to
refuse, to accept foreign travel documents that
become subject to systematic abuse. We will:
Chapter 4:
Our new offshore border control
4.1 Our aim is to build up as rich a knowledge of
the travelling public as possible and use this
information to stop those who could cause harm
to the UK from coming here. We will do this
in a manner consistent with data protection
4.2 With biometric visas to help lock down travellers
to a single identity, the second part of our offshore border control will be an electronic borders
Electronic borders
4.3 Through our electronic borders (e-Borders)
programme we will capture information on
individuals before they travel to the UK, with
the aim of authorising or denying permission
to set off for Britain. The process will involve
carriers sending us passport data prior to travel,
both inbound and outbound. The data will be
analysed in the Joint e-Borders Operations
Centre (J-BOC – operated by the border
agencies) and alerts will be issued to the partner
agencies on individuals of interest. The capture
of information is currently being piloted
through Project Semaphore. e-Borders will
cover the majority of passenger movements
by 2009 and 95 per cent by 2011.
‘Project Semaphore’ has already captured data on
21 million passenger movements, and issued over
9,000 alerts to the border agencies. By April 2008
it will be capturing 30 million movements
annually. Through advance access to information
about passenger and crew movements, border
agencies are able to take a more pro-active,
intelligence-led approach to prevent harmful
visitors from coming to the UK. To date over 800
arrests have been made.
For further information see
4.4 The Authority to Carry (ATC) scheme will
cover all passengers who do not pass through a
juxtaposed control. Passengers will be checked
before take-off or commencement of their
journey, allowing us to refuse a carrier
the authority to carry passengers to the UK.
Passenger details will be checked against
appropriate UK watchlists prior to travel,
and boarding will be denied where, for example,
they are seeking to travel on a passport reported
as stolen. During transit, passenger data will
continue to be processed and risk assessed in
the J-BOC so that the border agencies can take
action at the port of arrival in cases of interest
or where circumstances have changed since the
initial check. ATC will be implemented in
phases based on levels of risk from 2009.
4.5 In advance of ATC, we are working with
carriers to close the gap on those arriving in the
UK without appropriate documents. Where
carriers copy the documents of passengers
coming to the UK, particularly on high-risk
routes, this assists with identification, redocumentation and removal of individuals who
have disposed of their documents before arrival.
With the co-operation of carriers we intend to
develop further means of copying travel
documents in advance of travel.
Chapter 4:
Our new offshore border control
Juxtaposed controls
Airline Liaison Officers
4.6 For surface or Channel Tunnel journeys to the
UK, we will strengthen juxtaposed controls.
4.8 To further strengthen offshore controls, we will
reinforce our global network of overseas border
security advisers.
4.7 Juxtaposed controls in France and Belgium
have contributed to a 70 per cent reduction in
unfounded asylum claims since 2002. The
juxtaposed process is an excellent example of
what we can achieve when we work with our
European partners. We will build on this
success by:
Sharing more intelligence and working more
closely with our overseas counterparts;
Aligning our checks with the French and
Belgian authorities wherever possible,
enabling a faster, more efficient process for
Modernising our vehicle and freight controls
over 2007–09, for example integrating
Automatic Number Plate Recognition and a
range of new technologies to detect people
hiding in vehicles; and
Introducing more automation, linking
e-Borders and using biometric checks to
facilitate secure clearance.
© BAA Ltd see
4.9 Airline Liaison Officers (ALOs) have a
particularly important role in helping to check
that people have the right documents before
boarding; the use of forged documentation and
swapping of travel documents and boarding
cards after check-in are common methods of
abuse. Supported by intelligence and risk
assessment, ALOs have dramatically reduced
the numbers of inadequately documented
passengers arriving in the UK. 150,000 people
without proper documents have been prevented
from boarding aircraft to the UK in the last
five years alone. Fifty-five staff now operate in
32 countries, supported by a rapid response
team. The ALOs also work closely with other
countries’ Liaison Officers and local officials,
and help others build their own networks.
We will in 2007:
Integrate the ALO role more closely into
border control intelligence systems;
Improve links with local law enforcement;
Establish more formal co-operation
agreements, as in Johannesburg, South
Africa, between Liaison Officers from
different countries, and host nations;
Improve carrier training and help carriers
implement the Authority to Carry scheme;
Examine the concept of a Sea Carrier Liaison
Officer, who could perform a similar function
to the ALO at major maritime ports of
embarkation to the UK.
Chapter 5:
A stronger UK border
Biometric capture
5.1 The most reliable identifiers are biometrics.
We will exploit the global roll-out of biometric
systems to enhance our identity management
processes at the border, using all types of
biometric capture and verification of biometric
passports, ID cards and visas. We will start
to issue biometric immigration documents and
complete roll-out of biometric visas by 2008.
By summer 2007, frontline staff at all major
ports will be able to read the biometric data
in e-enabled passports and ID cards and
compare it to the biometrics of passengers
presenting those documents.
Fixing all non-EEA identities by 2011 will
provide a robust defence against many existing
patterns of immigration abuse as well as playing
an important role in national security and the
fight against criminality from overseas.
IND Review: “by 2011, require non-EEA
nationals to have unique, secure IDs before
they are allowed to travel to Britain, so that
entry and exit can be tracked, prior criminal
activity in the UK can be identified and
permission to travel can be refused.”
5.2 To meet the commitment made in the IND
Review to require a unique, secure identity
from all non-EEA nationals by 2011 we will,
in consultation with government and industry
and with due consideration to economic and
regulatory impact, roll out capabilities to
capture biometrics from all non-EEA nationals
not previously biometrically registered with the
UK on arrival, and check them against our
watchlists. This will enable us to:
Refuse individuals at the border who are
known to be a threat;
Prevent people who have been refused entry
from circumventing the control by trying
again in a different identity;
Clamp down on purported clandestine entry
– people who have passed through a nonEEA border control point at a UK entry
point will no longer be able to present
themselves inland to Border and Immigration
Agency offices claiming to have arrived
clandestinely; and
Link people encountered in country with the
identity in which they arrived, eliminating
a spectrum of abuse and making it easier to
re-document and remove abusers.
5.3 We will develop models for joint biometric
capture whereby other countries can capture
biometrics on our behalf, both through the Four
Countries Group and the EU BIODEV trial.
The more we can share biometric collection,
the greater the benefits for industry, law
enforcement agencies and most of all for the
traveller, who may only have to register once
for multiple purposes.
We will send a strong message that the UK
welcomes bona fide travellers, but will prevent
dangerous and undesirable individuals from entering
our country. People who abuse our hospitality are
unlikely to be allowed to return.
Powers and joint working at the border
5.4 Using our border security network, we ensure
that specialist agencies operating on the front
line both in the UK and overseas through the
Border Management Programme (the Border
and Immigration Agency, HMRC, UKvisas,
police forces and SOCA) share intelligence,
work collaboratively to increase coverage,
strengthen our response, and ensure that
border threats are met by those equipped with
the right skills and knowledge. Using the
provisions of the UK Borders Bill, currently
before Parliament, as a starting point, we
will keep the powers of the borders agencies
under review to ensure they are legally and
operationally aligned so that, for example,
any border agency could deal with a vehicle
at any port containing differing nationals of
immigration concern and carrying suspected
contraband. We will look to enhance the
sharing of powers if required, through further
legislative mechanisms.
5.5 Early trials have already resulted in the arrest
of offenders who would previously have been
undetected. Co-operation will spawn new areas
of working. Our objective is a border security
network with powers to tackle all threats
to the border, working together to form a
comprehensive border defence combined with
deeper targeted activity by each individual
agency. We will develop formal agreements on
inter-agency collaboration by July 2007 and put
in place practical co-operation across all ports
over 2007 and 2008. An annual delivery plan
will be produced and regularly reviewed by the
Asylum and Migration Cabinet Committee.
A power to require those subject to
immigration control to apply for a biometric
immigration document. We will begin
issuing these documents in 2008; and
A new statutory gateway for information
sharing between HMRC, the police and
the Border and Immigration Agency. This
consolidates and builds on existing gateways
with HMRC and is an essential requirement
for effective cross-government working
in the fight against organised crime and
illegal immigration.
IND Review: “enhance the powers and
surveillance capability of our border service,
to enforce our physical borders more
effectively and deter illegal entry, and make
it a visible, uniformed presence.”
Common Travel Area and movements
of small craft
5.6 We will give immigration officers new
powers to defend our border. The UK Borders
Bill includes a number of measures to strengthen
the border, tackle immigration crime and
underpin the border security network:
Greater powers for immigration officers to
intervene at the border on behalf of the police
to combat non-immigration crime;
Tough measures to tackle organised
immigration criminals. Foreign nationals
helping people enter the UK illegally, for
whatever reason, will no longer be able to
hide behind the fact that their criminal
activity was undertaken abroad. We are also
strengthening our prosecution powers to
make clear that facilitators or traffickers who
are active at our ports will be arrested;
5.7 The Common Travel Area (CTA) consists
of the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands,
the Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland.
Movement without clearance for all nationals
of the CTA is an important component of
the special relations which exist between the
peoples of these islands, and provides longestablished political, economic and social
benefits. Equally, the use of small craft either
by air or sea between the UK and its neighbours
for business or pleasure is an important
component of modern tourism and
communications. However, both present
immigration risks.
Chapter 5:
A stronger UK border
New skills, new processes
5.9 We will increase the skills, equipment
and visibility of our border controls. All
our frontline staff will be uniformed by the
end of 2007.
5.8 To counter these risks, we run intelligence-led
enforcement and security controls on inbound
traffic from other parts of the CTA; joint
operations between UK and Irish law
enforcement agencies successfully prevent
foreign nationals attempting to cross the
boundary illegally in both directions. Similar
risk-based interventions take place on small
craft and general aviation traffic. But more is
needed. Building on action to date, we will:
Monitor all major air and sea movements
across CTA borders via e-Borders by 2011;
Share more data with our Irish counterparts
and increase the number of joint operations;
Deepen coverage of the CTA borders by
closer collaboration between UK border
Explore the potential for additional checks
on passengers travelling within the CTA,
consulting CTA authorities and industry;
Review the rules governing CTA border
activity, based on the principle that CTA
nationals are not subject to immigration
control on the internal borders; and
Modernise the arrangements for clearance
of individuals coming to the UK by general
and business aviation and small sea ports,
developing web-based solutions through
e-Borders to replace the current reporting
system, in consultation with other border
agencies and industry.
Immigration officers trial new uniforms
5.10 We will have clearly identified border control
zones at all major ports by the end of 2008. Our
border control staff are our most important asset
in providing a secure and welcoming frontier.
We will ensure that they have the right training
and skills for the job. We will continue to use
and develop New Detection Technology, one
key means of frustrating clandestine entry, such
as CO2 and heartbeat monitors.
5.11 At larger ports, automated barriers using
biometrics will enable clearance to be expedited
for many passengers. The key principle is that
passengers for whom a biometric identity check
is sufficient will be cleared by the automated
barrier, which will make real-time checks
against our watchlist. Those refused by the
gates or of higher risk or without reliable
biometric documents will be examined by
immigration staff. Most EEA nationals will
in future be able to use the automated barriers
once they have secure, biometrically enabled
5.12 This model builds on the IRIS system and
miSensePlus, a proof of concept trial supporting
the International Air Transport Association
(IATA) Simplifying Passenger Travel (SPT)
initiative (supported by airlines, airports,
government authorities and technology
IRIS (Iris Recognition Immigration System)
is a quick, convenient and secure way to clear
immigration controls, open to British citizens, and
foreign nationals with permission to enter the UK.
Those enrolled are able to use automated biometric
gates at selected ports in the UK, making their
journey easier. By the end of February 2007 there
were over 67,000 registered users and over 250,000
crossings. It is particularly attractive to frequent
business travellers. We will expand such schemes
in the future to more travellers.
5.13 There will not be a faceless border. Automated
controls will be supervised and, where necessary,
validated by immigration officers who will be
able to intervene to provide assistance or further
scrutiny, if required.
Exit controls – counting people out
5.14 In 2006 we began to check more departing
passengers. Under Project Semaphore, we are
processing data on passenger departures, enabling
targeted interventions using mobile teams where
appropriate. We have the ability to establish fully
staffed embarkation controls very quickly in
response to specific threats and currently operate
these on a risk-assessed basis at major ports.
5.15 We will check the majority of passengers in
and out of the UK by 2009. This will build a
complete picture of movements in and out of
the UK that will buttress national security,
support the fight against terrorism and crime,
and transform the Border and Immigration
Agency’s intelligence capabilities. We will
know which people do or do not comply with
our rules, and intervene where required, leading
to huge benefits for the country as a whole.
The miSensePlus trial has successfully tested
elements of the SPT Ideal Process Flow vision
which seeks to improve passenger movement
and enhance security by capturing biometrics
for identity verification at key points in the
departures and arrivals process. Recently completed
at Heathrow Terminal 3, miSensePlus captured all
13 biometrics, as well as biographical information,
to allow background checks to be conducted
on enrolees and membership cards to be
issued to verify identity on arrival in the UK.
Once the checks had been satisfactorily completed,
the membership card containing biometric
information was activated for use at the automated
barrier to verify identity on arrival in the UK.
Chapter 6:
Making it happen
6.1 We cannot achieve our aims in isolation and we
will work in partnership not only with the rest
of government but also with our international
partners, industry and the public.
6.2 Our plans to secure our borders do not just
affect how we work within the Border and
Immigration Agency but also with other border
agencies (police, SOCA and HMRC) and the
UK’s security and intelligence agencies. We
already enjoy a close, collaborative partnership
through the Joint Border Operations Centre.
Through the border security network we
will put in place formal agreement covering
collaboration on joint intelligence, mobile teams
and facilities by July 2007 and develop further
new forms of joint working across the UK by
the end of 2008.
6.3 We will use new cross-government mechanisms
established to improve enforcement action
and co-operation with other government
departments (particularly DfES, DCMS, FCO,
DfT and DTI) and bodies with an interest in
transport, education, tourism and travel to take
forward our plans.
6.4 We will, by June 2007, establish a Visitor
Taskforce so that we can work with partners
across and beyond government to improve our
customer service standards and the part we play
in welcoming visitors to Britain. The Taskforce
will involve VisitBritain, UKTI and members
of the travel, tourism and hospitality sector.
We will also ensure that we work with the
wider tourist industry to continue to promote
the UK as a destination of choice.
6.5 We recognise that there are a number of other
organisations, professional, educational and
NGOs with an interest in migration and border
and visa issues specifically. We will continue to
engage them and have promised to consult on
changes to the visitor category and visa rules.
6.6 We also recognise that some proposals will
have an impact on the travel industry. We are
committed to continuing engagement. We want
to ensure that we benefit from the knowledge
and skills built up by the industry to deliver
a programme which will not only preserve
the security of our borders, but also facilitate
speedy and smooth legitimate travel with the
minimum necessary regulatory burden. We
know that the border must be both welcoming
and secure.
6.7 We will enhance our already good, collaborative
relationships with European partners,
both bilaterally and within the EU, and
with international partners in the developed
and developing world to make borders
stronger, while promoting schemes to expedite
clearance of legitimate UK and other travellers.
Fundamentally, we want to enhance our working
relationships internationally to develop our
ability to share intelligence and tackle abuse at
source. Specifically, in 2007 we will contribute
to the review of Frontex and strengthen our
contribution to EU border security. We are
also working within the Four Countries Group
(the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK) to
agree in 2007 a framework for data sharing that
will be operational from 2009. This area will be
explored in more detail in the forthcoming
International Strategy.
6.8 A global approach to data and identity
management that is joined up between
government and industry, working to common
international standards, promises substantial
long-term benefits for all. Streamlining
juxtaposed controls, through data sharing,
automation and joint working, is one area
where collaboration with sea and rail operators,
hauliers and coach operators is critical.
Another key partner is IATA, the global trade
organisation for the air transport industry,
which comprises 265 airlines representing
94 per cent of international scheduled air traffic.
6.9 We will continue to work with all concerned to
minimise the impact and maximise the benefits.
We will conduct and publish full Regulatory
Impact Assessments as necessary and consult
as appropriate.
6.10 Finally, we recognise that expediting border
movements and improving border security
requires the tolerance and support of the
travelling public. We do not take this for
Future funding
6.11 The overall timetable for developing and
implementing our proposals will be determined
by our total resources: central funding, efficiency
savings and income from charging. It will also
need to take account of technical and
commercial feasibility.
6.12 Many of our proposals are about building on
what we currently do with our existing resources.
Some of them – such as utilisation of advances in
technology – will generate savings in the longer
term. This will also help us to off-set costs for
some of the new initiatives we plan to
6.13 We also charge for some of the services,
such as visas, and we will ensure that
we are charging a fair and economic rate for
those services that reflects the true cost while
recognising the economic benefits that travel
and migration bring.
Summary milestones
Key Deliverables
Pre-arrival data covering 20 million passenger movements on 55 routes
Roll-out of first phase of biometric visas
Intelligence-led exit controls in place at selected ports, supported by mobile teams and pre-arrival data
Roll-out of e-passport readers at UK and juxtaposed control ports
Specific arrangements for short-term students coming here for six months or less
Legislation on new powers introduced
Pilot of uniforms at borders
Pre-arrival data covering 30 million passenger movements over 90 routes
Global roll-out of biometric visas complete
Further development of intelligence-led exit controls, supported by pre-arrival outbound data
Visa Waiver Test run against all non-EEA countries
Review of Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) regime and Transit Without Visa (TWOV) concession
Commercial partnership arrangements in place to deliver more efficient and customer-orientated
visa service
Risk Assessment Units rolled out to cover 75 per cent of all visa applications
Consultation on changes to rules for visitors
Roll-out of Tier 1 of Points Based System
Consultation on introduction of English language testing for those seeking to settle in the UK
through marriage
Clarifying processes – introduce new application forms and guidance for entry clearance staff,
applicants and sponsors
Inter-agency border co-operation framework agreed
4CG data-sharing framework agreed
Visible, uniformed border service in place at major ports, including Heathrow Terminal 5
Pre-arrival data covering 100 million passenger movements over 90 routes
Biometric immigration documents introduced for people here for work or study
Changes to visa regimes
Roll-out of remainder of Points Based System
Changes to rules for visitors (following consultation)
Inter-agency border co-operation framework implemented
Uniform standards in place for all frontline border control staff
Biometric-enabled automated clearance points implemented at selected ports
Fingerprint biometric included in UK passport
Majority of passenger traffic covered by e-Borders
4CG data-sharing framework in place
Introduce an Authority to Carry scheme
Unique, secure identity required for all non-EEA nationals travelling to the UK
95 per cent of passenger traffic covered by e-Borders
Biometric-enabled automated gates at all major ports
Produced by COI on behalf of the Home Office, March 2007. Ref: 280648